An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
KAMLOOPS MUNICIPAL politics has thankfully remained untainted by partisan politics throughout its history, and thankfully so. Other than a couple of failed attempts at forming and sustaining civic parties, City council has been free of political labels.
Away from the council table, members support the full range of provincial and federal parties from left to right, but they don’t bring those biases into City Hall. Now is no time to start.
That’s why it’s a little unsettling to hear mayoral candidate Dr. Cynthia Ross Friedman appear to be so focused on the fact she campaigned for the New Democrats in the just-completed provincial election.
I’ve read and heard several of her comments and interviews in the past couple of weeks and she seems intent on pointing out she supported Kamloops-North Thompson NDP candidate Barb Nederpel.
She brought it up again in at least two media interviews on Thursday. She does so in the context of explaining that some of what’s motivating her to run for mayor in the September by-election comes from what people told her at the doorstep during the provincial election.
Well, okay, but she’d be wise to stop now lest she become tagged as the NDP candidate for mayor. Provincial political attachments have no business in civic campaigns — roads, sewers and a candidate’s vision for the kind of city Kamloops should become has nothing to do with being NDP, Liberal, Green or anything else.
Civic politics is uniquely local, close to home and neighbourhoods. When members of council debate and vote on issues, they do so based on community, not on party policies.
Ross Friedman’s opponent Ken Christian supported Peter Milobar as the Liberal candidate in Kamloops-North Thompson and made no attempt to hide it, showing up frequently in media photos of the campaign. But he’s never incorporated his Liberalness into his motivation for wanting to be mayor.
There are many civic issues to discuss. Let’s make the upcoming campaign about those, not a re-run of the provincial election.